It’s amazing how time flies! It’s already been almost a week since The Devil‘s official release date last Friday, March 27th–and, more importantly, the online release party KFB’s spring season authors and I held to celebrate our respective publications. Of course, the book is up for sale on the KFB online store (I’ve heard it’s selling well!), and it ships free to anywhere in Canada. If you’d like a copy of your own, I hope you’ll stop by the online shop and place an order!
Really, though, I wanted to write a post to reflect on the event, because I think we accomplished something special. If you didn’t get a chance to stop by last Friday night, we hosted video-recorded readings by me, Andy Verboom, and Mike Cavuto (reading both his own work and some of Hamish Ballantyne’s)–plus a trippily ORANGE intro by Kirby and an under-the-blanket love note from Fan Wu–on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, then promptly took them offline by Saturday morning. My hope was to replicate some of the excitement and ephemerality of a live event, but with the quality and creativity of pre-recorded content. And, of course, I wanted to do something unique and memorable with the digital social spaces we’ve suddenly found ourselves even more deeply engaged in. I hadn’t heard of any online event quite like this before, and I wonder, now that it’s done, whether anything similar might be bubbling up on the horizon…
Overall, I’d say the night was a success! It’s worth noting that the technical side of things was pretty messy, and I know that at least a few of us were pretty frustrated at points trying to corral Gmail, Google Photos, WeTransfer, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even a few pinch-hitting video editing softwares into getting the videos to play at the right time (they played, but nowhere near as soon as we had hoped). If this is ever attempted again, there are certainly some lessons to be learned about which online platforms to bring into the mix. Luckily, though, very little of our struggles seemed to show up on the front end, which was filled with lively, insightful, and sometimes hilarious conversation (most of which is still up on the Facebook discussion page, in addition to some banter on Twitter), along with incredibly heart-warming shows of support. There were even a few audience requests for Instagram-bound spontaneous photography, which were happily granted. Overall, it was a lot of fun, and I got to show off a little bit. It’s hard to ask for more.
At the same time, I also realize that my work with The Devil is not over. Mentions will keep appearing sporadically, I’m sure, across the internet, and once we can all gather again I am still excited to perform some pieces from the chapbook in person. Besides that, I have a sense that video files can never truly self-destruct the way a live event can, and I can imagine our recordings worming their ways onto poetry-lovers’ screens in some fashion in the near to medium future. When you try something new, all of that just comes with the territory. And one of the things I’ve loved most about this is its unpredictability, and the energy that unpredictability brings.
Kirby was sweet enough to put together a photo album of some of his favourite moments from the release party. So, I’ve gone ahead and stolen a few pics from there (and the event’s Instagram page) to include in my own post! Not for perfection’s sake, but just to mark the occasion. Whatever I end up planning next with any of these folks, I’m looking forward to it!
As always, happy reading. And take care!